Over the past few months there has been plenty of attention paid to Pfizer’s smoking cessation drug, Chantix. Reports of serious side effects have been pouring into the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System. Reports of suicide and suicidal ideation have been all too common among these reports. The FDA says they are also investigating over 100 cases of psychotic behavior associated with the drug. On November 20, 2007 the FDA announced that they would be reevaluating Chantix due to overwhelming concern about the drug. The same drug is marketed as Champix in UK and will soon be introduced in Australia under the same name; however, when Champix goes on the market in Australia on January 1 it will carry warnings that it has been linked to suicidal thoughts.
After reviewing reports submitted to the FDA the Australian equivalent, Therapuetic Goods Administration (TGA), asked Pfizer to issue “Dear Doctor” letters to Australian physicians to inform them of the news.
A TGA spokeswoman said Pfizer has also included a new warning on Champix, stating “there have been reports of depressed mood, agitation, changes in behavior, suicidal ideations and suicide in patients attempting to quit smoking while taking Chantix.”
The shooting death of Dallas musician Carter Albrecht sparked national concern about the drug and earlier this month British papers reported the suicide death of a popular television editor. This has thrown the drug into the public eye.
Concerns about Chantix have been mounting rapidly over the last few months and I believe it is only a matter of time before FDA reaches the same conclusion that the TGA has and in turn adding a similar warning to Chantix here in the United States.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices, and Implants.